Burgemeester Opening Holland Animation Film Festival

Toespraak burgemeester Jan van Zanen

Utrecht, CineMec, 22 maart 2017

Board, staff, team, and volunteers of the Festival, ladies and gentlemen,

While our thoughts are in London, with the victims and their loved ones, I would like to welcome you to Utrecht, to CineMec and to welcome you all to the Holland Animation Film Festival.

During this festival Utrecht is not only the heart, the very heart of the Netherlands, but also the very heart of animation. (How about that Gerben!)

This festival has, in recent years, firmly established itself on our cultural agenda.

Firstly, this is, I think, due to the excellent addition it proved to be to the Utrecht festival landscape. A landscape that features, a wide array of festivals, covering all realms of culture.

A second reason may be the offering, by our local University of the Arts, of a bachelor course of Design in Animation. This doubtlessly attracts young and talented future animation artists, who bring in an atmosphere of creativity and spirit of enterprise.

All this against the background of a city which has already every right to call itself 'imaginative'. Great designers like Gerrit Rietveld and Dick Bruna were born and spent their creative lives here.  And 2017 is not only the year of the 20th Animation Film Festival, but also marks the 100th anniversary of the Stijl art movement, to which both Rietveld and Bruna had strong connections.

As a tribute to Dick Bruna, several Miffy animations can be seen during this festival. Like the prize-winning production of our talented fellow townspeople Job, Joris and Marieke, nominated for an Oscar in 2015. Still a memorable moment in our cultural history.

But the main reasons for this festival's success are, I think, its more and more broad and international orientation, the dedication and professionalism of staff, team and volunteers, and, above all the constant high quality of the animation shown.

Animation is an art that is still gaining popularity, expanding its possibilities, exploring new territories.  We can be sure, therefore, that the contents of 2017's treasure cove will be even more revealing than those of last year. To begin with the special productions you will be introduced to tonight, here at CineMec. Thank you very much and please enjoy the 20th Holland Animation Film Festival.